UN concern around level of violence in election campaign period
KABUL - The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expresses its concern around the level of violence early in the campaigning period for the 20 October parliamentary elections, including intimidation and attacks against candidates, their agents and supporters. The Mission condemns today’s most serious incident that killed at least 14 civilians and wounded a further 42 when a suicide attacker struck at a campaign rally in Nangarhar.
Since campaigning formally commenced on 28 September, there have been several attacks resulting in the killing of a candidate and three security guards of another candidate, as well as the shooting of a further candidate’s agent and son.
UNAMA urges all actors to halt all violence and intimidation against candidates and voters.
“I am outraged by attacks deliberately targeting civilians seeking to exercise their basic right to participate in elections,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “This violence, including today’s reprehensible attack in Nangarhar, is an assault on the constitutional rights of the people of Afghanistan.”
Today’s suicide attack appears to have deliberately targeted a crowd gathered at an electoral campaign event.
Afghan civilians have borne the brunt of election-related violence in 2018, documented in an earlier UNAMA report that identified a disturbing pattern of attacks at election-related facilities following the commencement of the voter registration process in Spring. The greatest loss of civilian life in a single incident took place on 22 April when a suicide attacker targeted a crowd gathered outside a national identity card distribution centre in Kabul, resulting in 198 civilian casualties.
The United Nations extends deep condolences to families who lost loved ones in today’s attack in Nangarhar and other acts of election-related violence and wishes a full and speedy recovery to those injured.